James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Archive for October, 2011

Wall Street protests: It’s about time

Posted by James McPherson on October 12, 2011

OK, so Fox News, which likes Tea Party Protests as citizen activism so much that it falls all over itself to promote those protests, isn’t nearly as fond of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Considering Fox’s pro-big business, pro-Republican slant, that’s no surprise. (And naturally, being Fox, the story was placed next to one titled, “Feds Arrest Lone Wolf in ScarJo Nude Photo Probe.”) Besides, the protests aren’t getting as much attention as they should from other media, either.

Frankly, though I’ve made fun of Tea Party folks a time or two or three, I’ve also supported their efforts — while pointing out that the “party” is as unfocused as supposedly are the Wall Street protesters. But probably no meaningful protest starts with talking points. In fact, not only liberal media but even a Forbes writer, who might be expected to be pro-Wall Street and anti-protests, has pointed out that the protesters’ ideas are more cohesive than the intellectually lazy (or dishonest) folks at Fox and on conservative blogs would have you believe.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, I think public activism is generally a good thing even if it’s sometimes a bit messy. And the fact is, the Tea Party protests and the Wall Street protests are coming from the same place–frustration and anger among a populace that has been too often ignored by the powerful. I would point out that the “powerful” in this case include the media and corporatist Democrats.

No one can predict what, if anything, will happen as a result of the anger. But even if those in politics and the national media have failed to adequately notice, it’s been a long time coming. And as noted by the Los Angeles Times: “The only thing really surprising about the Occupy Wall Street movement is that it didn’t happen sooner. The United States has a long history of friction over policies that enable an elite to thrive at the expense of ordinary people.”

Next-day addition: Despite what the two groups have in common, it seems that Tea Partiers are less popular than the newcomers (though that may change–as one GOP candidate after another keeps proving, to know someone doesn’t necessarily mean to like them more). And the decreasingly relevant Tea Partiers. who should be seeking allies, seem to be saying “get off of my lawn.”

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